WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sent a letter to the nation’s governors on Thursday telling them that his administration will use “expanded” coronavirus testing capabilities to advise high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk counties whether to increase, maintain or relax their social distancing guidelines.
The letter included no timetable.
Also on Thursday, the United States became the country with the most confirmed coronavirus cases — 82,4040 according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center — on the planet. With 81,782 cases, China placed in second.
On Monday, after Trump said he “would love to see this country opened up and raring to go by Easter,” the nation’s governors did not applaud. Thursday, Trump reiterated the need for America to “open up.”
Afterward, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican and head of the National Governors Association, told CNN, “We don’t think that we’re going to be any way ready to be out of this in five or six days or so, or whenever this 15 days is up, from the time that they started this imaginary clock.”
On the same day, Hogan issued an executive order closing all non-essential businesses in his state.
During Thursday’s daily briefing of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx said that 19 states had fewer than 200 confirmed cases.
More than 55 percent of new cases are in the New York metro area.
Thursday morning, Trump participated in a teleconference on the coronavirus with G20 Leaders, which was followed with a call with the nation’s governors around noon. Other than one governor who was a bit of a “wise guy,” Trump said, the governors were positive.
Pence said that over the weekend the task force would brief Trump on options going forward as the “15 Days To Slow the Spread” campaign ends Monday.